Racism and xenophobia do not end just because a country’s borders become more accepting. Instead they morph and adapt to the current societal norms. Especially in a country like the United Kingdom, where the legacy of the British Empire is still thriving, there is still a disconnect between the Empire’s colonial effects and the country’s present-day racist and xenophobic policies. This disconnect is reflected in their current literary canon which has helped British citizens convince themselves that racism exists in other people and other countries and not in their own lives and histories. A canon outlines and shapes the culture of a society through art and literature that reflects how life is like in that nation. The British literary canon currently upholds the notion that dead white men can still accurately represent their nation’s diverse and ever-changing population. Historically speaking, the British canon has always memorialized the voices of white men and currently excludes the voices of women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized people that contribute to culture and history of the nation. Contrary to the original British canon belief, white men are not the only contributors to British culture. The Second World War took a financial toll on the British Empire and to resolve this issue it looked towards its Caribbean colonies to help rebuild Great Britain. In 1948, these Caribbean immigrants arrived in England on the Empire Windrush and since then have challenged and contributed to British culture and life. James Berry’s A Story I Am In: Selected Poems (2011) belongs in the British literary canon as it reveals the reality of post-colonial xenophobic and racist British attitudes that still threaten the livelihoods of the Windrush Generation to this day.
Story-Telling: The Empire’s Neglected Responsibility.
Undergraduate Review, 14, 102-106.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol14/iss1/17
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